Cholesterol levels can begin to rise in young children, and by the time they’re adolescents, one in five have high cholesterol. At Cardiology Care for Children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Devyani Chowdhury, MD, MHA, and the team specialize in more than treating cardiovascular disease in children and teens; they also help them prevent heart problems. Dr. Chowdhury offers cholesterol screening to find and treat problems at an early stage. If you’re worried about your child’s diet or want to prevent them from developing high cholesterol, call the office or connect using online booking today.
The more cholesterol in your bloodstream, the higher the chances that some of it will stick to artery walls. Once cholesterol grabs hold of the wall, it slowly enlarges, accumulating more cholesterol along with other fats and calcium and causing inflammation — a condition called atherosclerosis.
As the cholesterol plaque enlarges, it narrows the artery, reduces blood flow, and deprives tissues and organs of oxygen-rich blood. When atherosclerosis reaches an advanced stage, blood flow stops, causing tissue death, a heart attack, or a stroke.
High cholesterol is not limited to adults. Children and teens can develop high cholesterol, increasing their risk of heart disease earlier in their adult life.
Children may have high cholesterol due to:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children have their cholesterol levels checked between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17-19 years.
Children should be tested earlier than nine and get more frequent screening if they’re overweight, have a family history of heart disease, or have parents or grandparents who had a heart attack or atherosclerosis.
Your provider at Cardiology Care for Children determines your child’s cholesterol levels using a blood test. The team offers in-office genetic testing to look for familial causes of high cholesterol. If your child has high cholesterol, they create a personalized treatment based on your child’s lifestyle and health needs. However, at any age, high cholesterol treatment includes:
Lowering cholesterol begins with following a healthy diet, getting more exercise, losing weight, and stopping smoking.
But parents should be cautious when changing a young child’s diet. Fat is an essential nutrient for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for children two and younger as they grow and develop.
If you’re worried about your child’s weight or your family history, the team can help you create a diet that will put them on the right path for a healthy life without putting their growth and health at risk.
If lifestyle changes don’t restore normal cholesterol levels, the team prescribes medications.
It’s also important to treat underlying conditions that cause high cholesterol, like high blood pressure and diabetes.
To schedule a cholesterol screening, call Cardiology Care for Children or book an appointment online today.